Archive for October, 2008

Happy Halloween

Friday, October 31st, 2008

From all of us here at [CR], have a safe and happy Halloween tonight. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that Halloween night is one of the most dangerous nights of the year for alcohol-related traffic deaths: 44 percent of all traffic deaths on Halloween night occur as the result of a legally intoxicated driver. Compared to other holiday periods, Halloween night has one of the highest proportions of alcohol-related traffic deaths, ahead of both Christmas night (38 percent) and New Year’s Eve (41 percent). Be safe tonight – if you do choose to drink, make sure you have a designated driver to help you get home safely. Enjoy Halloween responsibly!

Student Voices in The Dallas Morning News

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Michael Janak, a senior at Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas, wrote a column about young adults and responsible alcohol use in The Dallas Morning News earlier this month. He touched on the potential benefits of an alcohol licensing program as well as the importance of moderation. Check out his piece and tell us what you think!

New Study: Alcohol and Liver Health

Monday, October 27th, 2008

A new study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Physiology – Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology suggests that red wine might help counter the effects of liver diseases typically associated with alcohol consumption, such as cirrhosis and fibrosis. Chronic alcohol consumption can lead to fat buildup in the liver, but researchers found that moderate red wine consumption actually helps combat those problems, reducing fat production and increasing fat decomposition rates. Typically, alcohol education programs –specifically those aimed at young people – focus solely on the negative health consequences of alcohol use, but the potential benefits of moderate alcohol use should not be ignored. Check out Join Together for more details on the study.

National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

This week is National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week. You can learn more about [CR]’s plans for the week here. Remember to celebrate by making responsible choices about alcohol – changing the culture begins with you!

Will Wilkinson on the Drinking Age

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Will Wilkinson, a Research Fellow at the CATO Institute, wrote a thought-provoking column in a recent issue of Forbes. Check it out and tell us what you think!

Fake ID’s and Ethical Compromises

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

This week, Linda Conner Lambeck of the Connecticut Post reported that many campuses face serious challenges in combating alcohol abuse during the first few weeks of the fall term – some administrators refer to this period of the academic year as the “Red Zone.” Thriving fake ID businesses on campuses across the country perpetuate this problem, as students routinely break the law in order to have access to alcohol. A recent story in Newsday detailed the sources of these fakes, from on-campus entrepreneurs (some of whom produce hundreds of false ID’s) to online shops that market “novelty” ID’s and do-it-yourself kits. Printing and imaging technology is getting better and cheaper, making it easy for an enterprising college student to run an on-campus business. Newsday reporter Alfonso Castillo noted, “Where there’s a will – and perhaps a decent laser printer – there’s a way to score a realistic identification card that might convince a bar bouncer or grocery store clerk that an underage college student is old enough to drink beer or liquor.” As students find creative new sources for fake IDs, a technological arms race ensues: “much as one drink leads to another, the state’s efforts to step up security features on official IDs forces counterfeiters to step up their technology, which in turn forces bars and other establishments to step up their own security to make sure they don’t get taken by an underage drinker.” In the end, it becomes increasingly more difficult for businesses to spot the fakes: Virginia Guy, executive director of the Drug Education Council in Mobile, Alabama, said, “It would be real hard to catch these fakes at a typical bar at night, in the dark, with a bouncer at the door.” As long as our alcohol policies maintain the status quo, these problems aren’t going anywhere. A more effective solution to this problem would address the culture that drives young adults to engage in these ethical compromises in the first place.

States Consider Tougher DUI Laws

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

This week, two states considered enacting tougher DUI legislation that aims to prevent repeat drunk driving offenses. In Ohio, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Ellen Jan Kleinerman reported that a breath-alcohol test is now mandatory for all suspected drunk drivers that have previous DUI convictions – 33,000 drivers in Ohio have five or more, according to Ohio Department of Public Safety records. Kleinerman wrote that prior to the passing of the new law many drivers refused the breath test, even though it meant an automatic suspension of their license. In Texas, Jessica Meyers of the Dallas Morning News reported that lawmakers may implement a number of changes to the state’s DUI laws: one of the changes would lift the state ban on sobriety checkpoints, and the other would require all first-time DUI offenders to install alcohol ignition interlocks in their vehicles. While Texas law already contains a provision for ignition interlocks, the proposed change would close loopholes that delay installation of the devices. Meyers noted that Texas is one of only 11 states that prohibit sobriety checkpoints, and Texas Rep. Linda Harper-Brown said that checkpoints are on the books in neighboring states such as Louisiana and New Mexico. Ignition interlocks are specific tools that lawmakers can use to stop repeat offenders – read more about them here. Texas and Ohio are targeting the right group with these new laws – drunk drivers, and not young people who could learn to drink responsibly if given the chance.